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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Good Car-ma!

It is the dawn of a new era in our household, an era in which all of our cars run and run well. May it last for a long, long time. I bought A. a used Prius today and we unloaded sold the decrepit BMW to a used car dealer who specializes in restored BMWs. As much as I resented that car, it's still a car with feelings and I'm happy that it's in a place where it'll be cared for properly and appreciated.

So, there are many cool things about the Prius, but the most interesting is that its (now previous) owners live in one of the houses my family lived in when I was little. We moved there when I was five or so and moved away after my second sister was born, when I was seven. I went there today to pick up the car and they let me look around. I haven't been there since we moved (a long, long time ago) and we didn't live there long, but I was amazed at the things I suddenly remembered. In no particular order, here you go.

  • My mother was in a vegetable co-op. On co-op day, there would be a brown grocery bag on our side porch, filled with vegetables. I remember watching her shuck corn and snap beans from the bag. When it was her turn, she had to go to the Farmer's Market to buy all the vegetables. I don't remember if I ever went with her.

  • My mother had a light blue polyester suit with brown pussy willows on the legs. It was a one piece thing, with cap sleeves and a long, tie belt and I thought it was very glamorous.

  • We had a small, rectangular fish tank in the kitchen. My mom put snails in it to keep it clean. They would slime up the sides, try to get out and crash to their deaths on the kitchen floor. It was gross, but not very.

  • We got goldfish at Woolworth's at Richland Mall. I held the bag on the way home and I was very careful.

  • I used to play with a board, a hammer and some nails. I would hammer dots into the board with the nails to make pictures. I now realize that the board was a piece of paneling from the den that must have been removed at some point.

  • I had a bad dream about Pinocchio chasing me through a castle. I can remember what his feet sounded like, clacking against the stone floor of the castle. Although it doesn't sound scary, it was.

  • I had another bad dream that I was looking out of the window in the den, into the back yard. There was a (very typical looking) alien in the backyard and he was going to get me. I cried for my mother and she told me to hide under the record player, which was under the window. I did, but then realized that I was totally visible. I cried for her again, but she was hiding and didn't answer.

  • We had a red, child-sized picnic table with green on it. I remember playing my mother's Supremes album on the aforementioned record player. I remember standing on the table and being Diana Ross and making my sisters stand a step down on the benches; they were Cindy Birdsong and the other one. I know this memory can't be true, because my second sister was born while we lived there and wasn't even two when we moved.

  • I remember her playpen in the den.

  • Once I looked in the fridge and saw store-bought chocolate milk, the kind that comes in a plastic gallon container. This was not the sort of thing we had in our fridge, ever. I was very excited, but my dad said I couldn't have any, because my mom was craving it. I'm guessing she was pregnant. I don't remember being upset when he said I couldn't have any.

  • I remember being so hungry once before dinner that I was sobbing. My mother gave me a pear and it was very juicy. We usually just had apples and bananas.

  • I had a paperback book about training poodles. I had a mutt named Sam that may have been somewhat of a poodle. I remember working with Sam for hours, trying to teach him tricks. I probably only did it once. I don't remember him knowing any tricks.

  • I remember climbing the Dogwood in the front yard.

  • My dad had two cars while we lived there, both Chevy Caprice Classics. The first was a flat, sky blue color and the second one was a flat tan. I preferred the blue one.

  • Mushrooms grew behind the toilet in my bathroom. My mom got rid of them.

  • My room was pale green.

  • I got dressed in my room every morning. I sat on my bed and my dad helped me put on my socks. They were thin, white knee-highs and my mom bought them big, so I could wear them a long time. My dad folded the toes over and I could feel them in my shoes.

  • My mom had her bridge club in the living room. When I looked at the living room today, it was completely unfamiliar to me. So was the dining room. I don't think I ever had occasion to enter them.

  • After my sister was born, one of my mom's friends brought me a present, presumably so I wouldn't feel ignored. It was two pairs of underwear, one with blue flowers and one with brown flowers. They were interesting to me, because I only had white ones. They were not very comfortable, but I liked to look at them.

  • I did not feel ignored when I had more siblings. I remember being very busy.

  • I took a nap every day after school. My mom would wake me up to watch Tom and Jerry. My mom was a genius: I was in school, then I took a nap, then I zoned out in front of the television while she made dinner or took care of babies. And, no, I didn't feel ignored. I liked school, naps and Tom and Jerry.

  • I had a swing set in the backyard. It was white. My dad mixed concrete in a wheelbarrow to put around the legs so it wouldn't tip over.

  • My dad mixed concrete a lot, I don't know why. That memory doesn't strike me as particularly accurate.

  • We did some science project in the laundry room that involved water tinted with food coloring in baby food jars. And string. I have no idea what that was all about.

  • There was shaggy, royal blue carpet somewhere, maybe in my sister's room.

  • We didn't have a couch. Um...I know that memory isn't accurate.

  • I had a babysitter who wrote me stories about a purple cow. I had to go to bed on time, so the purple cow would leave a story for me to read when I woke up.

  • I had a babysitter who took me to the park. She was friends with another one of our babysitters, but they got in a fight over a boy and stopped being friends. Maybe their names were Becky and Stacy. Maybe not.

  • I had a babysitter named Della. I think she had braces.

  • I used to dress up as the Easter Bunny and my mom would take me to visit kids in the neighborhood. The costume was homemade (by me) and involved a leotard, tights and cotton balls. That's embarrassing.

  • I had a friend in the neighborhood who was a little older than I was. She lived near the park and I was invited to a sleepover there once. Her friends played a clapping game in a circle. They sang Rocking Robin and slapped each other's hands in a cool way. I had never seen that before.

  • There was an old couple on our street who I was allowed to visit. They had candy and a lot of flower bushes.

  • I had a puffy, white coat with stripes.

  • I loved my mom's oatmeal cookies.

  • I learned to ride my bike in the road in front of the house. The bike was red and I thought it looked like a boy bike.

  • I remember my mom cooking dinner, but I don't remember where or what we ate. Now that I think about it, there may have been a table in the kitchen. The kitchen's been remodeled and is bigger now.

  • I dug up worms in the backyard.

  • I had a playhouse in the backyard. It had no back door, but there was a shady area behind it that I thought of as the playhouse's backyard.

  • There was a girl who lived over the back fence named Heather. I played with her, but I don't remember if I liked her or not.

  • I played with the girls down the street. We watched Sesame Street at their house.

  • I found my dad eating baby food, pears or tapioca, and he let me try it. He told me he ate it sometimes because it tasted good.

  • I had a dress that looked like a skirt and blouse: navy blue skirt and red plaid blouse. I think it had a belt.

  • I wore an uncomfortable brace to sleep for a while. It went around my waist and had boots on the end of these rods attached to the waist. Can that possibly be true? If it isn't, I'm more of a freak that I imagined.

  • I used to climb the built-in bookcases in the den and hide things in the German beer steins my parents kept there. One time, I hid two crayon stubs, mint green and burgundy, that I stole from school. That's the only time I've ever stolen anything and I still feel guilty. My teachers were Miss Sue and Miss Holiday. We had several communal buckets of crayons in our classroom and they were filled with "regular" colors: red, blue, yellow, green, orange and purple. The mint and burgundy were the only two special colors and there was always a race to get the bucket that held them. One day, unable to bear watching the other children waste them, I slipped them into my pocket. The crayons nearly burned a hole in my pocket; they were my Tell-Tale Heart. I couldn't even touch them. When I got home, I put them in the beer stein, wracked with guilt, but incapable of righting my wrong, terrified of getting caught. I remember the uproar in our classroom when it was discovered that the crayons were missing. I have no doubt some of my classmates remember it, too, and I hope this clears it up for them. It's the least I can do. More than a year later, when my mother was packing for our move, she found the crayons and tried to give them to me. I swore they weren't mine and refused to take them. Utterly confused and too tired to argue (she also had a three year old and a one year old!), she told me to just put them with my crayons. I refused to take them. She probably thought I was off my little rocker. Several years ago, I confessed my crime to her and she had no recollection whatsoever of a scene involving crayons in a beer stein. I felt better for finally telling the truth.


Okey-doke, I'll stop now, because I'm tired and I suspect no one is reading this, but what a strange day.

Namasté, y'all!

4 comments:

EK said...

I remember dancing to The Beatles on that red table while mom was in the kitchen. I remember feeling how wonderful it was that she let us stand on the furniture AND listen to music. I thought all three of us were dancing on the little table, but that would not make sense as our youngest sister was but a few months old. I also remember the house being very dark. And quiet. And the living room was a place you never went or cared to go because little of interest was there. The backyard was better, and we would scramble over the fence, using some wobbly bricks as stepping stones, to Aunt K's house. Another story: I got a good spanking in the park down the street, which was not as painful as it was embarrassing because other kids were watching. My sin had been to hop on my big wheel and take off down the road (adult-less) and cross the busy street without looking either way. I liked the swings at the park.

Annie said...

You got pushed off of the swings at the park. Mom says it was me, but I remember that it was you. I remember the Beatles too - I have all of mom's vinyl, by the way. We had the table at the new house, too, so we must have really into it. I remember watching American Bandstand fairly often.

And you deserved that spanking - that's terrifying!

Your Sister

Anonymous said...

It was you, Anne. I pushed the swing, but left you in the air. You flipped and landed on your back. I was glad you were just hurt and not paralyzed. Love--Dad

EK said...

And li'l sis was actually old enough to be our dancing partner, now that I think about it. She was old enough (2 or 3) to shake her booty by the time we moved. We rocked that house, y'all.